As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for their first playoff game of the year, many other teams are preparing for new head coaches.
One of those is the Miami Dolphins, who elected to fire Brian Flores after their 9-8 season. As Heavy has previously written, the Dolphins requested to interview 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel this past Tuesday.
Before Wednesday’s media availability, there wasn’t a direct answer from McDaniel on interest in the position. ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reported that the young offensive coordinator is only focused one things: the Dallas Cowboys.
“#49ers OC Mike McDaniel says he’s not juggling anything right now in terms of head coaching interviews. Says he’s focused on the Cowboys,” Wagoner tweeted Thursday evening.
That’s exactly what San Francisco fans want to hear as the team prepares for the road trip to Dallas. McDaniel is also setting the precedent that he will probably not interview for any head coaching positions until the playoff run is over, which may mean that the Dolphins or other potential suitors find their next HCs before he gets an interview.
The Niners would prefer parity and to keep McDaniel around, but it’ll be a quiet and important storyline in the background for the next couple weeks.
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McDaniel Speaks on Deebo Samuel’s Expanded Role
Another topic that was brought up during McDaniel’s media availability was wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Deebo has seen more action than either of his two previous seasons, and the 49ers have invested more into getting him the ball.
This has primarily been through the rushing attack. Samuel has 365 rushing yards this season with eight touchdowns, per PFR. According to Cam Inman, McDaniel says that expanded role is due to Deebo earning it.
“We learned this year, ‘Hey, this guy can handle more in our system and we can find different ways to get him the football,’ because he’s truly special in doing so,” McDaniel told media members.
It’s paid big dividends as Samuel has amassed 1710 total yards and 14 touchdowns, the most in either category on the team. McDaniel and the 49ers will need him to be a major factor again this Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Cowboys.
Kyle Shanahan Doesn’t Want to Lose Coordinators
After seeing former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh take a head coaching job with the New York Jets in 2021 and former OC Mike LaFleur follow him to New York, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan would prefer to keep his guys around this offseason.
But he may not get what he wants. With McDaniel already being requested and current DC DeMeco Ryans likely to receive interviews as well, Shanahan knows they could be leaving California in the near future.
“I don’t want to lose [DeMeco Ryans] yet,” Shanahan said per NBC Sports’ Jennifer Lee Chan. “So hopefully for my sake and the Niners’ sake they let him get a few more years here but I know he’s ready and I feel the same way about Mike [McDaniel].”
With Ryans and McDaniel 37 and 38-years-old respectively, they’re still very young by traditional standards. However, Shanahan and names like Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay have shown that younger coaches are having success in the league.